Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa – 10th Dan (*source: www.skifworld.com)
Grandmaster Hirokazu Kanazawa, Shotokan Karate International Federation (SKIF) founder, was born on May 3, 1931 in Japan. He was one of the most gifted students of Master Gichin Funakoshi, (Shotokan Karate style founder) and one of the few who are still alive transmitting with great fervor his legacy. He was the first time Kumite (sparring) Champion of the prestigious JKA (Japan Karate Association) tournament in 1957, retaining his title consecutively for three more years.
Grand Master Kanazawa started in Judo training during his middle school age reaching a 2nd Dan level in this discipline. On a visit to Takushoku University he had the opportunity to see Okinawa karate (this is the style that his brother was practicing) which made him so impressed with its technique that he decided to immediately learn the beautiful martial art. He enrolled in this University to begin his training with another legendary master of Shotokan, Grandmaster Masatoshi Nakayama, who was one of Master Funakoshi’s closest students and who almost immediately stared training made the young Kanazawa as an elite student.
By 1956, Master Kanazawa graduated from Takushoku University, having passed all tests becoming an instructor and receiving his 3rd DAN. The following year (1957) Soke Kanazawa achieved his first Championship title in Kumite (sparring) in the first JKA Karate tournament held in Tokyo were he demonstrated his preparation, unbreakable spirit and mental strength by fighting with a fractured right hand and having to use only the left one to execute all attacks and defenses. Master Kanazawa won a Championship title in Kumite (sparring) in 1958 and 1959, and also won the Championship title in Kata (forms) in 1958. In an interview many years later, the Great Kanazawa said:
In 1961 he was sent to Hawaii by the JKA to open a Dojo and to promote Karate. In 1963 he went to Europe with the same purpose and in 1977 he returned to Japan to found his own organization: SKIF (Shotokan Karate International Federation) which currently is known as one of the most important and prestigious Karate organization in the world with more than 5 million active members in 135 countries on 5 continents.
Kancho Nobuaki Kanazawa – 8th Dan (*source: www.bushidokarate.ie)
Kancho Nobuaki Kanazawa was born in May 1972 and is the eldest of three sons of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa – 10th Dan Supreme Instructor and Founder of Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation. Kancho Nobuaki Kanazawa is the current head (Kancho) of Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation Worldwide and travels the world doing seminars and gradings. Kancho was educated at Taisho University and joined Karate-Do in his teenage years, Kancho quickly found his natural talent in Karate-Do and won many notable championships over the years.
The most notable achievement was Kancho won 2 Gold medals the SKIF World Championships in Bali in 2000, not alone winning the heavyweight gold medal, Kancho went on to win the coveted Grand Champion. Kancho also won a Silver Medal at the 1994 SKIF World Championships in Yokohama Japan and has represented SKIF Japan on several occasions.
Domestic Awards include winning the SKIF All Japan championships 5 Times (1996-2000), All Styles Japan National Karate Champion in 2004, Metropolitan Championships 3 times and the JKF All Japan Championships 6 Times a testament to Kancho’s talent in Karate-Do.
Shuseki Shihan Manabu Murakami – 8th Dan (*source: www.bushidokarate.ie)
Shuseki Shihan Manabu Murakami is the current SKIF Chief Instructor and has won the SKIF world Championships an impressive three times.
Born on 1st October 1966 in Kyushu, an island off the south of Japan, He started practicing Karate at the age of 9 years with JKA instructor Sensei Maruo. When Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa formed SKIF he immediately joined his organisation in the 70’s. At 18 Sensei Murakami studied at Takusoku university in Tokyo where previously Soke Kanazawa had studied. When graduating he took the two year SKIF Instructors course at the central SKIF Dojo and has remained there to this day.
As Sensei Manabu Murakami said “you should have fun practising Karate and if you motivate yourself you will get better each time. Look for that motivation which will stimulate you to enjoy it, then you will go far”.